The Crimean War is famous for three things. The Charge of the Light Brigade, it’s the First War to be well photographed and it’s the first war to be properly covered by the media
A product of the journalistic storm that accompanied the war was a greater public awareness of what soldiers in the army were going through. As the public realised the level of mismanagement that was going on in the east, an outcry arose from all quarters and classes. The righteous indignation in Britain forced the government to redress the issues that had been overlooked in command, equipment and supply, during the long years of peace since Waterloo. The Crimean Army had been forgotten once, and throughout the Victorian era, it was seen to by writers and artists that it would not be forgotten again.
However after World War One and Two, it happened again. What had aroused such pride in the British heart no longer did, and as the worn memorials to the fallen Crimean Hero’s crumbled and fell, those corners of foreign fields became all the harder to identify, and harder still to remember. And though the exploits of this legendary British Army has never really faded from public consciousness thanks to Tennyson and Butler, the memorials to the 23,000 British soldiers, sailors and marines that died there remain neglected and broken down.
With this in mind the Crimean Memorial Appeal was started with the aim to raise £70,000 to build a fitting monument to all the men, from all arms that did not come home. It’s a big number and there is no organisation out there at the moment that can help, also time is a factor as planning permission on the land they wish to build on won’t last indefinitely. It’s very hard to get people to care about 19th century soldiers, but as the Appeal aptly wrote “Will our soldiers fighting and dying in Afghanistan be forgotten one day too?” Right now the world is gearing up to honour the men who fell in the First World War and rightly so, however we should not forget older soldiers either. The Poppy has now become not just a badge for Armistice Day, but a symbol of Remembrance in general; we not only remember the WW1 now, but WW2 and the present conflicts; So why not a war further back in time, which meant no less to those who lived through it than more modern wars mean to us. I am conviced that if we determin to remember some soliders and forget others, than it makes way for us to pick and choose what we want to remember. Selective History is not truth, and the truth is the Crimean Hero’s died doing what British soldiers throughout past and present times have done, their duty, and that should never be forgotten.
Heaven forbid any soldier should die for nothing, his sacrifice forgotten in a forgotten war. Therefore Historyland urges its readers to go over to www.crimeaappeal.com get more information and see if you can help them out. Please feel free to use the pictures I have created to help spread the word to remember to noble 23,000.
(Just a note, I did not make the Crimea Memorial Appeal logo, that is reproduced here with kind permission of the CMA, all other artwork was me.)